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Authors: Margaret Atwood

Tags: #POL000000, #Poetry

Power Politics

BOOK: Power Politics
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The Animals in That Country
The Circle Game
The Journals of Susanna Moodie
Morning in the Burned House
Procedures for Underground
Selected Poems [1966-1974]
Selected Poems 1966-1984
Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New, 1976-1986
True Stories
Two-Headed Poems
You Are Happy


Alias Grace
The Blind Assassin
Bluebeard's Egg
Bodily Harm
Cat's Eye
Dancing Girls
The Edible Woman
Good Bones
Good Bones and Simple Murders
The Handmaid's Tale
Lady Oracle
Life Before Man
Murder in the Dark
Oryx and Crake
The Robber Bride
Wilderness Tips


Days of the Rebels 1815-1840
Moving Targets: Writing with Intent 1982-2004
Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing
Second Words: Selected Critical Prose 1960-1982
Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature
Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Two Solicitudes: Conversations [with Victor-Lévy Beaulieu]


margaret atwood


Copyright © 1971 , 1996 Margaret Atwood

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

First published in 1971 by House of Anansi Press Ltd.
Revised edition published in 1996

This edition published in 2005 by
House of Anansi Press Inc.
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801
Toronto, ON M5V 2K4
Tel. 416-363-4343
Fax 416-363-1017

Distributed in Canada by
Publishers Group Canada
250A Carlton Street
Toronto, ON M5A 2L1
Toll free tel. 1-800-747-8147

Distributed in the United States by
Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
Toll free tel. 1-800-788-3123

09 08 07 06 05 5 6 7 8 9


Atwood, Margaret, 1939-
Power politics

2nd ed.
ISBN 0-88784-579-7

I. Title.

PS8501.T86P671996     C811'.54     C96-930636-9
PR9199.3.A78P67 1996

Some of these poems appeared on CBC
, and in the following magazines:
Blew Ointment, Kayak, New Work, Saturday Night, Tuatara
, and
. “Hesitations Outside the Door” and “You refuse to own / yourself” first appeared in
Poetry (Chicago)
. “They are hostile nations” was published as a broadsheet by Peter Martin Associates.

Cover design: Bill Douglas at The Bang
Author photograph: Dominic Turner

We acknowledge for their financial support of our publishing program the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP)

Printed and bound in Canada


you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

He reappears

You rose from a snowbank
with three heads, all
your hands were in your pockets

I said, haven't
I seen you somewhere before

You pretended you were hungry
I offered you sandwiches and gingerale
but you refused

Your six eyes glowed
red, you shivered cunningly

Can't we
be friends I said;
you didn't answer.

You take my hand and
I'm suddenly in a bad movie,
it goes on and on and
why am I fascinated

We waltz in slow motion
through an air stale with aphorisms
we meet behind endless potted palms
you climb through the wrong windows

Other people are leaving
but I always stay till the end
I paid my money, I
want to see what happens.

In chance bathtubs I have to
peel you off me
in the form of smoke and melted

       Have to face it I'm
finally an addict,
the smell of popcorn and worn plush
lingers for weeks

She considers evading him

I can change myself
more easily
than I can change you

I could grow bark and
become a shrub

or switch back in time
to the woman image left
in cave rubble, the drowned
stomach bulbed with fertility,
face a tiny bead, a
lump, queen of the termites

or (better) speed myself up,
disguise myself in the knuckles
and purple-veined veils of old ladies,
become arthritic and genteel

or one twist further:
collapse across your
bed clutching my heart
and pull the nostalgic sheet up over
my waxed farewell smile

which would be inconvenient
but final.

They eat out

In restaurants we argue
over which of us will pay for your funeral

though the real question is
whether or not I will make you immortal.

At the moment only I
can do it and so

I raise the magic fork
over the plate of beef fried rice

and plunge it into your heart.
There is a faint pop, a sizzle

and through your own split head
you rise up glowing;

the ceiling opens
a voice sings Love Is A Many

Splendoured Thing
you hang suspended above the city

in blue tights and a red cape,
your eyes flashing in unison.

The other diners regard you
some with awe, some only with boredom:

they cannot decide if you are a new weapon
or only a new advertisement.

As for me, I continue eating;
I liked you better the way you were,
but you were always ambitious.

BOOK: Power Politics
9.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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